We were thrilled to be announced as the winner of the ‘Excellence in Digital Engagement’ award at the 2023 TIS National Excellence Awards.
The TIS National Excellence Awards recognise and celebrate housing organisations, staff, volunteers, tenants, residents and community groups who are leading the way and making positive change in the Scottish social housing sector.
The Excellence in Digital Engagement award recognises housing organisations who have demonstrated creativity in developing meaningful digital engagement opportunities.
Our award-winning submission highlighted that we have made significant strides in promoting digital engagement and ensuring that tenants are at the forefront of our decision-making processes.
Last year, we were selected to take part in, and awarded funding as part of, the Technology for our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (TAPPI) project which aims to improve the way technology is used in housing and care for older people. Despite the average age of a Bield tenant being 70 years old, we decided to utilise innovative practices and various online channels to encourage greater engagement and participation alongside more traditional methods such as consultations, surveys and focus groups.
In order to do this, our staff required to gain a comprehensive understanding of tenants’ digital literacy. This was achieved by initiating conversations with tenants across their developments and issuing digital literacy questionnaires. The responses gave invaluable insights into tenants’ technological capabilities and understanding, laying the foundation for tailored digital engagement opportunities.
The feedback also highlighted the importance of “hands-on” learning experience for tenants and led to the unveiling of the Bield Tech Hub in May 2023. The Bield Tech Hub is based at our West Port development in Linlithgow and showcases consumer and technology-enabled care devices. The innovative space has enabled Bield tenants and the wider community to interact with and test different devices, apps and systems across a variety of housing settings; building their confidence and developing their knowledge in relation to different digital tools which can be used to support independent living. To date, more than 152 tenants have visited the Bield Tech Hub together with staff from 16 health and social care partnerships.
We have also taken steps to ensure that all tenants can engage, regardless of their access to digital devices or internet connectivity. With the help of external funding, we have provided over 250 tablets to tenants in need of devices. Tenants now have the flexibility to engage through digital platforms, providing greater choice and accessibility. This has empowered tenants to actively contribute to decision-making processes, ensuring their voices are heard and valued.
Co-production, where service users and providers work together towards shared goals and positive changes, has been a key theme for us. We also enlisted the help of two volunteer ‘TAPPI Champions’, Alice Bayne and Peter Paton, both of whom are Bield tenants residing at West Port. Supported by Bield staff, they were able to update the wider tenant community and gather feedback, collectively determining the best approach moving forward.
Alice and Peter were delighted to accept the award on behalf of Bield at the TIS National Excellence Awards ceremony on 9th November at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.
Dr. Lynne Douglas, Chief Executive of Bield, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic forced all housing and care providers to significantly change the way they engaged with their tenants and communities.
“Technology has enabled us to engage with tenants, customers and communities who may have previously faced barriers to participation and our focus on meaningful digital engagement opportunities has resulted in a range of positive outcomes. By championing co-production and digital inclusion, we hope to set a high standard of practice and demonstrate the lasting benefits of meaningful digital engagement”.
The 2023 TIS National Excellence Awards formed part of the annual TIS National Housing Conference and Exhibition which took place from 9th-10th November.